Claims following last autumn's storms and floods have totalled almost £700m, the Association of British Insurers property statistics have shown.

More than half, £389m, of the money claimed was for damage to homes, while businesses claimed a total of £303m (made up of £251m for material damage and £52m for business interruption).

In other areas, theft claims fell by 9% although the amount claimed rose by 5% to £741m. The average cost per claim rose by £150 to £1,190 in 2000, the highest ever amount recorded.

Fire claims fell by 1% to £855m and subsidence claims also went down in cost by 4% to £350m and in number by 10%.

Subsidence claims were also down, with the cost falling 4% to £350m, and the number of claims, at 38,200, down 10%.